Thomas Anshutz was an American painter and teacher in the realist style popular in the late 1800’s in the United States and won several awards in the realm of portraiture. He was a co-founder of The Darby School, a summer school near Philidelphia which encouraged young painters in plein air. He also was a student and eventually a professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.


  • Anshutz was born in Kentucky but spent much of his life in Philadelphia.
  • He received training and was a teacher’s assistant at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest art museum and school in the United States.
  • Anshutz, along with his mentor Thomas Eakins, helped build the Zoopraxiscope invented by Eadweard Muybridge, which was a precursor to the movie projector.
  • Later in life, he proclaimed himself a socialist.
  • His most well-known painting is probably The Ironworkers’ Noontime, painted in 1880 and now part of San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museum collection. Its unusually stark and gritty depiction of factory work startled audiences at the time, with critics seeing it as “unexpectedly confrontational”.

Source: Wikipedia

Jared’s note: I believe the art form of painting in the West reached its zenith in the 19th century. This series seeks to shed light on some of the brilliant painters of that era, many of whom are not well known today.

The Farmer and His Son at Harvesting

Thomas P. Anschutz, 1879